This leftover Ham Bone Soup is our family’s favorite, loaded with vegetables and beans in the most flavorful broth. It’s hearty and healthy, and easy to make in the slow cooker or on the stove.

A bowl filled with Ham Bone soup including ham bone broth, veggies, beans and ham.

There’s no doubt this Ham Bone Soup tops my favorite comforting, hearty, healthy soup recipe. It’s my go-to for using up our leftover Easter or Christmas ham. Sometimes I’ll even go to Honey-Baked Ham just to buy one of their leftover ham bones so I can make this soup. Did you know they sell those? They are fairly inexpensive and still have quite a bit of meat left on them.

How to Make Ham Bone Soup:

Slow Cooker Method (Recommended):

  • Place the ham bone, water, peppercorns, bay leaves and garlic in slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 7 hours (or overnight) or HIGH for 3.5 hours.
Ham bone in a slow cooker, covered with water and spices, next to a photo of the slow cooker with cooked ham bone broth in it.
  • Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove to plate. Remove some of the grease from the pad, reserving just a little in the pan. 
Cooked bacon on a plate.
  • Add the chopped onion, celery, zucchini, carrots, and potato to the pan and saute for a few minutes.
Chopped carrot, potato, celery, onion and zucchini sautéing in a skillet.
  • Remove the ham bone from the slow cooker. Remove any meat from it.  Add the chopped ham (and any pulled from the bone), sautéed veggies, cooked bacon, and the remaining ingredients to the broth in the slow cooker. Taste and add a little more of the spices, if needed. Cook on LOW for 2 more hours.
A slow cooker filled with ham bone soup.

Stovetop Method:

  • Place the ham bone, water, peppercorns, bay leaves and garlic in a heavy stock pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove to plate. Remove some of the grease from the pad, reserving just a little in the pan. 
  • Add the chopped onion, celery, zucchini, carrots, and potato to the pan and saute for a few minutes.
  • Remove the ham bone from the pot and remove any meat from it.  Add the chopped ham (and any pulled from the bone), sautéed veggies, cooked bacon, and the remaining ingredients to the pot. Taste and add a little more of the spices, if needed. Cook until potatoes are tender.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: The ham bone broth can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for for a few days or frozen for up to 3 months. Chop the veggies ahead of time and store them in in the fridge until ready to assemble the soup.

To Freeze: The leftover ham bone and ham meat can be frozen for several months. The assembled soup can also be frozen, once cooled, for up to 3 months, stored in a freezer-safe container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and rewarm on the stove or in the slow cooker on low heat.

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Recipe

A bowl filled with Ham Bone soup including ham bone broth, veggies, beans and ham.
Prep 20 mins
Cook 10 hrs
Total 10 hrs 20 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

Broth:

  • 1 leftover ham bone
  • 7 cups water
  • 20 whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced

Soup:

  • 5-6 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion , diced
  • 2 ribs celery , chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini , chopped
  • 2 carrots , peeled and diced
  • 1 russet potato , peeled and diced
  • 2 cans great northern beans , rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups leftover diced ham

Instructions
 

Slow Cooker Method (recommended):

  • Place the ham bone, water, peppercorns, bay leaves and garlic in slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 7 hours (or overnight) or HIGH for 3.5 hours.
    Ham bone in a slow cooker, covered with water and spices, next to a photo of the slow cooker with cooked ham bone broth in it.
  • Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove to plate. Remove some of the grease from the pad, reserving just a little in the pan. 
    Cooked bacon on a plate.
  • Add the chopped onion, celery, zucchini, carrots, and potato to the pan and saute for a few minutes.
    Chopped carrot, potato, celery, onion and zucchini sautéing in a skillet.
  • Remove the ham bone from the slow cooker. Remove any meat from it. Add the chopped ham (and any pulled from the bone), sautéed veggies, cooked bacon, and the remaining ingredients to the broth in the slow cooker. Taste and add a little more of the spices, if needed. Cook on LOW for 2 more hours.
    A slow cooker filled with ham bone soup.

Stove Top Method:

  • Place the ham bone, water, peppercorns, bay leaves and garlic in a heavy stock pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove to plate. Remove some of the grease from the pad, reserving just a little in the pan. 
  • Add the chopped onion, celery, zucchini, carrots, and potato to the pan and saute for a few minutes.
  • Remove the ham bone from the pot and remove any meat from it. Add the chopped ham (and any pulled from the bone), sautéed veggies, cooked bacon, and the remaining ingredients to the pot. Taste and add a little more of the spices, if needed. Cook until potatoes are tender.

Notes

Make Ahead Instructions: The ham bone broth can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for for a few days or frozen for up to 3 months. Chop the veggies ahead of time and store them in in the fridge until ready to assemble the soup.
Freezing Instructions: The leftover ham bone and ham meat can be frozen for several months. The assembled soup can also be frozen, once cooled, for up to 3 months, stored in a freezer-safe container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and rewarm on the stove or in the slow cooker on low heat.

Nutrition

Calories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 7gFat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 429mgPotassium: 386mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 3560IUVitamin C: 11.7mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 0.9mg

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I originally shared this recipe February 2018. Updated April 2021 with new photos, a video and improved instructions.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. Super flavorful, healthy and extra great on this cold winter day! Made exactly as written other than substituting sweet potato for Russet! Had frozen ham and ham bone from Christmas so cooked a bit longer to defrost them in the slow cooker! Otherwise, no soup I’ve made from scratch has been as lovely!!

  2. Made it exactly as you said. Fabulous. It’s not easy chopping the veggies. But. LOVED THE FLAVOR and nutritional value.

  3. 5 stars
    I have made this soup several times now just as it is written and I am never disappointed! Thank you for this recipe 🙂 Happy New Year too!!

  4. 4 stars
    The soup was great! My teenage son gives his compliments as well. It was easy to make and a good finish to a winter day.
    *One addition was I pureed an additional can of beans to give the soup a creamy look.

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe was amazing!! My whole family loved including my 6 yo son. I didn’t add the bacon or zucchini but otherwise, the flavors were incredible!! This is a keeper for sure!

    Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    Updated Review: I made this recipe with a few tweaks and it turned out great! I followed the recipe with the exclusion of bacon (since I had plenty of left over ham) and I added an extra potato. When done, I found I wanted a thicker broth and more substance. I boiled up some mini shell pasta and chopped kale. Just before being tender, I added both to the soup and brought it to a boil for a couple of minutes. Since I had a honey baked ham, I balanced out that flavor with celery salt, Italian seasoning and sage to taste. I will definitely make this again. Thanks for a great foundation!

  7. 5 stars
    Made the soup with our ham bone from Easter and it was a great hit with the family. The house also smelled so good all day. Thank you for sharing.

  8. 5 stars
    I am so pleased with this recipe. I can remember my grandmother making ham bone soup and have longed for the taste of it for so long. If I’m being honest, I expected this recipe to turn out ‘fine or good’ but I never expected it to bring me back to my childhood in my grandmother’s kitchen the day after Easter. The taste of this soup screams homemade and old fashioned – A real ‘tried and true’ recipe that will forever be in my repertoire!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind comment and review! I’m so glad you liked the soup- it’s what I look so forward to after cooking a large ham for my family :).

  9. 5 stars
    Yes! It was great. I did not have 10 full hours, so I cheated a bit on the timing and temp–but it turned out great. Here’s what I did:

    2.5 hours in slow cooker on HIGH
    then switched to 3.0 hours on LOW while we went to a movie
    Came back and cooked the veggies as directed, then added them and cooked on the stovetop on Medium for another 45 minutes.

    Tasted just like the 10 hour version. YUM!

  10. 5 stars
    I made this for the first time today. I had ham at easter and a leftover ham bone – hence this recipe :). It was healthy and so flavorful. I think it will become a yearly tradition.